We all have those days. Days when it feels like nothing is going your way. Days when you’re ready to chuck that damn lap top out the window and go get a normal job. Days when you question your ability to succeed at this online business stuff. The pot of gold seems far, far away. You’re beginning to question whether that pot of gold exists at all.
This is pretty normal in the life of an online entrepreneur. Especially when you’re first starting out.
Think back to your last negative spiral (or maybe you’re in one right now). What kinds of motivation sucking thoughts are swirling around your head? I’ll bet you that a lot of them are things that don’t really matter and have nothing to do with your abilities or talents.
It’s time to stop beating yourself up. I mean it. Let’s take a look at 7 things we often give way more importance than they are worth, and see how we can put a positive spin on them.
1. You’re working your butt off and you’re still not getting traffic and interaction.
Google doesn’t know you exist. Your Facebook Page is a party of one. The only person that tweets your posts is you.
This is a tough pill to swallow. Especially when you’ve been putting in the effort to make things happen. Sure enough, you start to question yourself.
Don’t. Things don’t happen overnight online. It takes time to build up an active presence that gets you noticed. You will eventually hit momentum shifts, and you will only get there with consistent, hard work.
Stop focusing on the numbers. Having a ton of Twitter followers doesn’t really mean much if no one is paying attention to you. Focus on building relationships with the connections you do have. Things will automatically flow from there.
Keep on reading awesome blogs like SocialMouths, expanding your knowledge, trying new tactics. What I’m asking is that you take the heaviness, the “oh my god I suck,” out of the equation. Try to approach it as a fun game. There is no silver bullet for making it online (despite what you might read!). Success takes on different forms for everyone.
2. You don’t get comments on your blog
We all want those comments. We eagerly await the flood of response that we know our posts deserve. Yet, getting a steady stream of comments eludes many of us.
The truth of the matter is that very few blog visitors leave comments. Shockingly few. I’ve read stats that sit around 1% of blog visitors. So if you’re not getting any, it’s really not a big deal. They will come. It’s not a reflection of the content you’re producing. Not necessarily.
Make sure that you’re doing what you can to encourage comments. Keep on creating that valuable content. End your posts with a question. Ask readers to share their views. Respond to the comments that you do get.
3. You missed your posting schedule
Maybe you post on the same day each week. Or you have committed to posting twice a week. And for whatever reason you didn’t deliver. You got slammed with work. A client emergency popped up. Or you just weren’t feeling it and couldn’t get into the writing groove.
That’s totally OK. And I believe that it doesn’t matter. I know there are plenty of people out there who will disagree with me. Those that religiously follow a posting schedule and never waver.
You know what I think? Your readers really don’t care. If you were to ask me when my favourite bloggers post, I honestly couldn’t tell you. I don’t pay attention to that stuff. All I care about is getting their awesome content. I doubt your audience is keeping careful tabs on which day of the week you send your newsletter. Lots of successful bloggers don’t care about when they post.
So I say if it’s too difficult to commit to a specific schedule – don’t. I prefer flexibility, so I let my readers know I post weekly-ish. That works for me. And I don’t beat myself up if I’m not feeling inspired to write one week. Better to wait and produce content when I’m jazzed.
4. You created a mind-blowing post. And no one noticed
You wrote the most epic blog post ever. It rocks. We’re talking a Francisco-esque how-to create a Facebook landing page knock your socks off type post.
But no one has seen it. No one is sharing it. It’s just out there, online, in all its glory.
This is common when you’re getting started. And it’s sure not something to get worked up over. Don’t throw in the towel.
The post is yours. You own it. And you can resurrect it at any time. Just because you wrote it a while back doesn’t mean you can’t promote it again. It’s yours, so you can do as you like with it. Create a section in your blog that highlights your best posts. Put your top posts in your email newsletter welcome message. Send it out again when you’re on vacation and not creating any new content. Tweet it when you’ve got a larger following.
5. You just spent an insane amount of time on something
As an entrepreneur, you’re doing a lot of stuff yourself. Whether it’s trying to configure a new plugin, or finding out why your PDF creator isn’t working anymore. You have no IT guy to call up. No accounting whiz on the payroll. And often times you just have to roll up your sleeves and figure it out yourself. Which, more often than not, takes a lot of time. Next thing you know, 2 hours have gone by, and you might not even have a solution.
This happened to me recently when I was trying to figure out what to do with the images at the top of new Facebook Pages design. I spent a stupid amount of time trying to get a nice banner look. Trying different applications. Googling. In the end, I came to realize that there actually wasn’t a solution for this. Not yet anyways.
These sorts of time-sucking endeavours often get that little negative voice going. You might feel guilt for “wasting time”. You might feel stupid or incompetent for not having figured it out, or for not being faster.
I say, don’t harp on it. Learning a new skill takes time and expanding your knowledge is a good thing. Or maybe you’ve learned a helpful lesson about how doing things yourself actually isn’t free, and that your time is valuable. Hello outsourcing.
6. You didn’t get a response back from someone
You sent an email. Or a tweet. Maybe about a potential contract. Or a guest post or collaboration idea. Or simply to try and create a connection. And you got nothing in return.
Lots of people are really busy and just can’t get through all the requests and messages sent their way. Or maybe they’re simply not interested in what you’re proposing. Or aren’t into fostering a relationship with you.
Either way, don’t take it personally. It’s not your problem. Don’t waste any time or energy lamenting someone who’s not into you. Instead, focus your energy on those people that are.
7. You didn’t get the job
You’ve sent out an awesome proposal. You’re stoked on providing your services. And you know that you’re the perfect person for the job.
But you don’t get it.
This is one of the hardest things not to take personally. We’ve all been deflated when a job we’ve really wanted has fallen through. Especially at the start when each and every potential contract is super important to the growth of your business (or your ability to pay rent).
You might call me crazy on this one, but I really do believe that things work out the way they should. Maybe you’re not the right fit and it would have turned out to be a nightmare project. Or it could be another reason completely that has nothing to do with you. I personally once had a contract I really wanted not go through because the business was having some troubles. It was just a matter of bad timing.
Either way, it’s not worth dwelling on. On to the next! There are plenty of other opportunities so get out there.
Times you do deserve a smack
You had to know that this was coming. I’m just going to indulge myself a little here and share some pet peeves…
- Automatic Twitter welcome direct messages. That are self-promoting. Stop.
- Automatic Twitter streams to your Facebook wall. People aren’t on Facebook to see your tweets. Trust me on this one.
- You use Facebook messages like they are permission based email marketing. You’re just asking to be unliked.
- You don’t have your picture on your social media profiles. Or you do and you look like some kind of frightening stalker.
- You only tweet about yourself. Bad!
So, let’s hear it. Do you agree with my points? Any other ideas for “failures” we shouldn’t take so seriously in our online business lives? A pet peeve you wanna vent?
This is a guest post by Martina Iring – Martina helps small business owners and entrepreneurs struggling with all that web stuff. She’s on a mission to help the little guys make online marketing profitable and enjoyable! For gobs of free marketing info and doses of inspiration, head on over to Small Business Bliss. You can also connect with her on Twitter or Facebook.